This program presents a series of seven short films from the Arab Gulf, also known as the Khaleej.

Curated by Hind Mezaina, Bayn Al Khaleej (between the gulf) aims to examine and shed light on films from a region that is often underrepresented in cinema. The films address changing landscapes and traditions, collective and individual representation, and societal anxieties, all played out through drama, satire, and fantasy.

Following the screenings, join us for a conversation between Hind Mezaina and NYUAD faculty Alia Yunis about the films, their role as social critique, and forms of representation and expression through cinema.

This event runs in parallel with The NYUAD Art Gallery’s current exhibition, Khaleej Modern, on view until December 11, 2022.

All films are screened in Arabic with English subtitles.

A curator-led tour of Khaleej Modern will be offered prior to the event at 6 PM.

Films in this program

Shanab (Meqdad Al Kout, 2010, Kuwait, 14 min)

Set in old Kuwait, the film depicts the life of a man who is unable to grow a mustache. 

The Gamboo3a Revolution (Abdulrahman Al Madani, 2012, UAE, 17 min)

In the early 2010s, the traditional sheila and abaya in the UAE were reinvented to the ‘Gamboo3a,’ (the beehive hair or ‘camel hump’, a divisive trend that found many questioning where is the line drawn between fashion and modesty.

Mirrors of Silence (Nawaf Al Janahi, 2006, UAE, 16 min)

In a modern city, a young man is confronted by a distressing loneliness; will he succeed in overcoming it? 

Hind’s Dream (Suzannah Mirghani, 2014, Qatar, 6 min)

Hind is a Bedouin girl who spends weeks alone as her husband hunts. In a lyrical narration, she recounts wandering through a desert dreamscape, meeting an old oracle, and glimpsing a future Doha city. This film is a reflection on history, futurism, and folklore of the Arabian Peninsula.

Clouds (Muzna Almusafer, 2020, Oman, 15 min)

Set in a rural village in the South of Oman in 1978, the film looks at Dablan, a widower who lives with his children Salma and Amr. Dablan faces pressure from his tribe to kill a leopard threatening the village. A journey inside a tribal society undergoing transformation, shot with intimacy and palpable empathy.

Pick Up (Saleh Nass, 2015, Bahrain, 10 min)

A schoolgirl is desperate to reach home when faced with the embarrassment of being picked up from school by her father in his dusty old pick-up truck. Undeterred, the father decides to take a detour and take his daughter on a small fishing trip.

Filter Watan (Ali Kalthami, 2015, Saudi Arabia, 5 min)

A nation trying to change stereotypical perceptions. Does it succeed?

Speakers Biographies

Hind Mezaina

Hind Mezaina is an artist, writer, and film curator from Dubai. Working primarily in analogue photography, and more recently in video, her practice delves into themes of collective memory, the notion of heritage, and depictions of the UAE in the media. Mezaina is also the founder of The Culturist blog; Moving Image Editor at Tribe, a non-profit publication and platform that focuses on photography and moving image from the Arab World; and the co-founder of Tea with Culture podcast.

She has curated film screenings for local institutions, including Louvre Abu Dhabi, Manarat Al Saadiyat, Sharjah Art Foundation, The Africa Institute, Alliance Française Dubai, and Jameel Arts Centre.

Alia Yunis

Alia Yunis is a Visiting Associate Professor at New York University Abu Dhabi. She has worked as a filmmaker, photographer, and writer in many parts of the world, with a focus on identity, heritage, and transnationalism. Her feature documentary, The Golden Harvest ( is currently in film festivals. Her fiction, including The Night Counter (Random House), and non-fiction writings have appeared in numerous books, magazines, and anthologies and have been translated into eight languages. In 2010, she co-created the Zayed University Middle East Film Festival (ZUMEFF), now the longest running film festival in the Gulf. She is also one of the two co-founders at UAE National Film Library, housed at Zayed University. She authored her PhD dissertation, titled Coming Soon: Encounters on the Road to Film and Heritage in the UAE, at the University of Amsterdam.